South Holland District Council takes firm action against Spalding coffee shop breaching coronavirus rules

Posted on 11 August 2020

A coffee shop in Spalding has become the first business in South Holland, and just the second in Lincolnshire, to have their premises licence removed, the strongest action available to the Council's licensing panel, following a breach of coronavirus regulations.

Rafael's Coffee Shop, based on Westlode Street, was in front of the Council's Panel of the Committee of the Licensing Authority on Tuesday 11 August, after Lincolnshire Police were contacted on Saturday 20 June with reports that they had customers in the premises, during the national lockdown when no businesses should have been open.

When Police arrived they found around 20 customers inside, with the lights turned off and music playing and food and alcohol being served.

When questioned by officers on the scene, the owner acknowledged that they should not be open and claimed they had opened as a one-off for a few friends and holding a small child's birthday party. Despite this, body-cam footage filmed by the police officer showed primarily adult customers eating and drinking alcohol without social distancing measures in place.

Licence holder Jorge Carmezin attended the hearing, where the South Holland District Council panel ruled that the premises licence should be revoked, subject to appeal, due to a blatant disregard for the guidelines in place and a breach of all four of the licensing objectives.

Councillor Anthony Casson, portfolio holder for public protection, said: "Lockdown has been incredibly difficult for businesses and individuals across the District and nationwide, who have been forced to close and face a loss of income due to the tough but necessary regulations in place.

"When the vast majority have followed these rules perfectly, despite the potential personal cost, it is important that we take steps against those who break them, potentially putting public health at risk.

"I am pleased that the panel have taken the strongest possible action available to them in this case, and hope that it will send a message to other businesses in the District that we can and will take action against such activity."

The ban on alcohol sales at the premises will come into effect after 21 days, depending on whether an appeal is lodged in the Magistrates Court. For more information on Licensing laws and regulations, visit www.sholland.gov.uk/Licensing.